- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

A Massachusetts prep school alumnus is suing the institution, claiming he was racially and sexually humiliated by an adult adviser.

What’s unusual about the case is that the former student, Michael Lubin, 18, of Marblehead, Mass., is white.

Milton Academy, with an enrollment of 665 — 71 percent of whom are white — denied the accusations. Officials added that Mr. Lubin had been suspended twice during his time at the school — once was for harassing a black student on the telephone.

According to a statement from Milton: “The academy is saddened by the complaint, not only because it is wrong, both legally and factually, but also because it represents for Michael a missed opportunity to experience accountability and responsibility.”

Mr. Lubin and his parents, Richard and Kathleen Lubin, are suing the private academy for breach of contract. Mr. Lubin entered the academy as a freshman in 1998.

“Milton Academy promised Michael he’d get an adviser to help him academically and socially. But the adviser he received saw it as his mission to denigrate Michael Lubin every chance he got,” said Boston lawyer John Markham, who is representing the Lubins in the suit.

Mr. Markham said the adviser in question, Eduardo Villavicencio, is Hispanic and “routinely referred to Michael as a gringo” and told the youth he was “too white.”

The lawyer said Mr. Villavicencio was the freshman adviser to three students — two of whom were Hispanic — and that he gave them salsa dancing lessons.

“But he always made Michael assume the female role in dancing. That kind of behavior was not what the academy had promised Mike” in terms of an adviser, Mr. Markham said.

“He didn’t get the tutoring and support he had been promised … his family spent in excess of $70,000 for his education” at the academy, he said.

Mr. Villavicencio purportedly picked on Michael, Mr. Markham said, because “Mike didn’t understand the Spanish culture. He was a 14-year-old kid whose cultural identity was being challenged.”

Mr. Villavicencio, now director of academic technology at Green Farms Academy in Connecticut, referred questions about the Lubin case to Milton Academy. He is not a subject of the Lubins’ suit.

The lawsuit, filed in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, Mass., claims Mr. Villavicencio habitually turned on comedies on Black Entertainment Television at monthly meetings with the students he advised. The meetings were supposed to be used to discuss dorm life.

The suit says the shows “frequently included comedians making jokes at the expense of Caucasians and making lewd, obscene and sexual jokes.” It contends the adviser frequently reacted “approvingly” toward the jokes, “frequently at Michael Lubin’s expense.”

What’s more, the suit contends Milton Academy denied efforts by Richard Lubin to find another adviser for his son.

Today, Michael Lubin, who graduated from Milton, is a freshman studying business at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. He could not be reached for comment on his legal case.

He has a younger brother who will graduate from Milton Academy this year.

“The academy is a very prestigious place,” Mr. Markham said. “It’s just that they had one bad apple and didn’t do anything about it.”

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